Student housing: Resident assistants become community advisers
Over the first couple weeks of school, students noticed that residential assistants are now called community advisers. The change was made to foster community spirit on campus.
My goals for the CA programming model are two-fold, said Pat Marino, the new assistant director of resident life. First, I hope that programs in the residence hall will provide opportunity for students to come together and form inclusive, active and engaging communities. Second, I hope that the educational components of programming will help expand student learning at NU beyond the classroom, and will help students to gain some additional life skills that will benefit them during their time here, and after graduation.
One way CAs are developing their community is that residents are now going to be able to decide their own rules for their floor as long as they don't violate NU's policies.
An example of this would be changing the rule of quiet hours. If residents of a floor want to have quiet hours at 11 p.m. instead of midnight on weekdays, the floor community has the power to create this rule.
If all goes well this semester, it will be reviewed, and bigger changes may occur in residence life policy for the future, said Josh Miller, CA in Clet Hall.
Residents of the community are supposed to be able to talk to their neighbors. If there is a problem, instead of going straight to their CA, they can approach their neighbor to discuss the issue.
CAs will take action if the residents can't come up with their own solution.
I like being a community, because CAs are not viewed as authority. We are viewed more like a friend that is there to help with any issues the residents may have, said Emmy Read, CA in Seton Hall.
There is also some new terminology being used throughout the residence halls.
The dorms are now referred to as resident halls. They do not just provide housing, but an environment, which the residents can create.
Write-ups are now being referred to as documentations.
We want documentation to be more of an educational experience, so the residents can learn from the policy that they broke, Miller said.
The RA/CA changes may affect students differently.
Upperclassman may be optimistic to the changes at first, because they are so use to the old ways. On the other hand, the freshman are adapting to the change really well because these are the only rules they know, Read said. But I think once everyone adapts to the new system, it will be better for the residents.